After a Peripheral Neuropathy Diagnosis
If you have this condition, you know it brings with it pain, numbness, and uncomfortable feelings. You are not alone, though. People the world over suffer from painful nerve conditions.
Finding a place where you have access to the most reliable and useful information is vital. At Miologi, we strive to bring the best information available to help our readers. .
Peripheral Neuropathy Overview
Peripheral neuropathy is a nerve condition that occurs for a variety of reasons, including a traumatic injury, an infection, an issue with your metabolic system, genetic issues, diabetes mellitus, or exposure to certain toxins. The main issue sufferers face is a feeling of numbness or pain in extremities, likes hands and feet. There is also a general feeling of weakness or tingling throughout the body.
For some people, symptoms can get better, mainly if the root cause is a treatable condition. There are also medications that can relieve pain and other symptoms.
Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms
Your peripheral system serves a particular purpose, so each nerve has its own function. Symptoms for each person depend on which nerves are damaged or affected. In your body, there are sensory nerves for sensation, motor nerves for movement, and autonomic nerves for automatic functions.
Typical symptoms are:
- Numb feeling, tingling, or a prickling sensation that begins slowly and increases in severity. Typically, the sensation starts in your hands and feet but can move up your arms and legs.
- Sharp pain that is described as throbbing, stabbing, burning, jabbing, or freezing.
- Being very sensitive to any kind of touch.
- Generally being uncoordinated and falling easily.
- Weak muscles or even paralysis if your motor nerves are damaged.
- Being sensitive to heat
- Having physical issues, like with your digestive system or bladder and bowels.
- Blood pressure problems which can lead to feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
There are three categories for peripheral neuropathy:
- Mononeuropathy: one nerve affected
- Multiple Mononeuropathy: at least two nerves in different areas affected
- Polyneuropathy: many nerves affected (most common)
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
It is impossible to pinpoint a single cause, as many factors can come into play. Sometimes no known cause is discovered. A few potential causes, however, are:
- Alcoholic tendencies
- Autoimmune diseases
- Being exposed to environmental toxins
- Certain medications, particularly chemotherapy
- Infections, like Lyme disease or HIV
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Certain genetic disorders
- Trauma or damage to a nerve
- Other conditions, like conditions of your bone marrow, kidney or liver disease, or hypothyroidism
Peripheral Neuropathy Prevention
Peripheral neuropathy is avoidable in some cases. To lessen your chances of a peripheral neuropathy diagnosis, ensure you are making good choices for your health.
If you have any conditions that could increase the chances of a diagnosis, take steps to alleviate it. If you have diabetes, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, or are an alcoholic, take steps to manage the condition to prevent further complications.
Making good choices is essential, as well. Ensuring you eat a healthy diet full of whole foods and essential vitamins can protect you from peripheral neuropathy. If you are a vegan or have severe food allergies, ensure you supplement your diet with the necessary vitamins.
Regularly exercising can also help ward off a peripheral neuropathy diagnosis. Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise routine, but aim for 30 minutes three to four times a week.
Peripheral Neuropathy Diagnosis
As with many disorders, a diagnosis will rely on several different methods. Most importantly, your doctor will want to exclude other conditions. Your doctor will want a full medical history as well as a neurological examination.
Other tests, like blood and imaging tests, might be ordered. The results of these can help understand the root cause and find other conditions compounding peripheral neuropathy. Nerve function tests and nerve biopsies will show nerve damage and abnormalities, as well.
Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment
For treatment, your doctor will aim to control the condition that is causing the peripheral neuropathy and to relieve any discomfort from symptoms.
- Pain Relief: many over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen, can relieve symptoms that are considered mild or moderate. If you have severe symptoms, your doctor might prescribe an opioid-based painkiller.
- Anti-seizure: These medications can relieve pain in your nerves.
- Topical treatments: Capsaicin creams and lidocaine patches can both bring relief
- Antidepressants: certain types of antidepressants have been shown to interfere with the chemical processes that are related to pain bringing pain relief.
Specific therapies or procedures can relieve pain associated with peripheral neuropathy, including:
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Plasma exchange and intravenous immune globulin
- Physical therapy
There are many things you can do at home to bring relief from peripheral neuropathy.
- Caring for your feet: Ensuring your feet are in good condition and free of cuts, blisters, and calluses is essential. Wear padded shoes and high-quality socks, as well.
- Exercise: Low-impact exercises, such as walking, yoga, or swimming, can reduce pain and increase muscle strength.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking can harm blood circulation which can cause severe problems.
- Eat well: Ensure you eat a healthy, balanced diet with good fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.
- Steer clear of alcohol.
- Watch your blood sugar levels.
If you want to avoid the side effects that come with many medications, there are alternative treatments that might bring relief without the potential harm of traditional medicines. Things like acupuncture, alpha-lipoic acid, certain herbs, like primrose oil, and amino acids have all shown promising results.
If you are suffering from a nerve condition like peripheral neuropathy, or any other disease, finding a place you can trust and offers support is essential. The team of experts at Miologi is dedicated to being that place for you.